Veterans Get New Opportunities With Passage Of Two New Laws

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The New York State Assembly earlier this month approved a proposed state constitutional amendment sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. that would close an existing loophole denying Civil Service credit to disabled Armed Forces veterans throughout the state. The vote was unanimous.

Last year, the State Senate approved the measure, also by unanimous vote. In order for an amendment to be included in the State Cconstitution, it must be approved by two consecutively elected legislatures and then be approved by the state’s voters in a referendum. If the Senate approves the measure again during its current session, the proposal will appear on ballots across the state in November.

As the law currently stands, a veteran’s Civil Service credit can be used only once and does not allow for veterans to apply additional credits if they are classified as disabled at a later date. The pending legislation would benefit individuals who, through no fault of their own, were not classified as a veteran with disabilities at the time of their first appointment to a Civil Service position. It provides that in circumstances where a person has used a veteran’s credit for Civil Service purposes and thereafter is classified as a disabled veteran, the additional credit, which would be earned because of a disability, may be used for a subsequent test or appointment.

“In the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Americans have interrupted their lives and careers to serve in active duty in the military,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement released last month. “Certainly that is the case here on Long Island, with the Air National Guard in Westhampton. However, if a soldier was to leave his or her job to serve in combat, and then become disabled and return to his or her career, they could not receive the additional Civil Service credit they earned because of their disability. This is patently unfair. I’m glad the legislature has recognized this inequity and is taking steps to correct it. I also want to thank local veteran Bill Hughes of Hampton Bays for bringing this issue to my attention.”

In addition, the final 2013 New York State budget will include an initiative sponsored by Mr. Thiele that will assist returning veterans in finding employment by providing New York State-based private employers with a tax credit to encourage them to hire returning vets.

Employers will receive a $10,000 tax credit for hiring a veteran; $15,000 if an employer hires a disabled veteran. The veteran must have joined the service after September 11, 2001.

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